Mitu Gulati, Ugo Panizza, Mark Weidemaier, Grace Willingham, 18 May 2019

One way for a government to reassure investors of its willingness to repay is to give them a priority claim to state assets. It remains to be seen, however, whether such commitments are viewed as credible by market participants. This column investigates how markets responded to two such commitments. A commitment by the government of Spain did not affect yield spreads, while one by the government of Puerto Rico did. This may be because, as a sub sovereign, Puerto Rico faced higher constraints on its ability to renege. 

Nils Friewald, Florian Nagler, 30 January 2019

Previous studies show that conventional factors, such as firm-specific and macroeconomic variables, do a poor job of explaining yield spread changes. Using data from the US corporate bond market, this column shows that over-the-counter frictions explain around 23% in the variation of the common component and one third of the total variation in yield spread changes. The combination of search and bargaining frictions is slightly more important for the dynamics of yield spread changes than inventory frictions. The findings are broadly consistent with leading theories of intermediation frictions in over-the-counter markets.

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